It’s that time of year again! Thanksgiving is only days away. And while I want to relish in that special day of turkey, cranberries, family, and friends, I know Christmas is looming just beyond the horizon. The Christmas tree will spring forth from it’s garage hiding place by the end of the week. (No real tree here; with dogs, small kids, and heating vents where our tree sits, we’ll be sticking with the pre-lit fir for now.) And we’ll be decking the halls and fa-la-la-ing until New Years. And though we’ll decorate early and play Christmas tunes non-stop, there will still be a call for a simple Christmas at our house.
Planning a simple Christmas can be tricky. You’ve probably already started seeing Christmas ads and catalogs (thank you, American Girl). My kids have never read through the newspaper so carefully as when the Target circular came this Sunday. If only they were so interested in their reading lessons; I digress. Because of all of the commercials, catalogs, and circulars out there, the requests for Christmas gifts has been pretty constant for the last few weeks. Since we are going for simple (and haven’t hit the lottery recently), we won’t be buying everything they’ve mentioned. Boundaries… gotta have boundaries (and realistic expectations).
I knew we needed some kind of Christmas list for the kids. I’ve seen a few lists floating around Pinterest, but I couldn’t find one that really suited our family’s needs. We tend to only buy our kids three gifts, not including stocking stuffers, so a list with twenty lines wasn’t going to work. A limited number of lines was a must. Also, getting the little gardeners to think beyond toys was key. In the list I created, I included five areas:
1. A Game to Play: Board games and card games are an excellent way to promote family time. It’s also proven to build problem solving and math skills as well as just being plain fun. We love to buy the kids a new game each year. (Recommendation: Spot It! It’s tiny size and many variations make it a family favorite!)
2. A Book to Read: Especially if your kids have a lot of required reading for school, let them choose a book that interests them. The love of reading starts young, and there are so many wonderful choices out there. (Recommendation: The Notebook of Doom series kept our 6 and 8-year-old hooked, Fantastic Beasts for older readers, and for littles, we love the classic Best Word Book Ever)
3. Something I Want: This is where our kids went wild. In fact, at one point a pet bunny was written down. Not. Going. To. Happen. So, it was begrudgingly erased and replaced with some type of Nerf weaponry. Having only one space, kids do have think hard about what it is they REALLY want.
4. Something I Need: This may vary depending on your family, but our kids chose this spot for things like new robe and slippers, dress boots, etc. Obviously our kids aren’t going without shoes, but if they want something a little special, but it’s still a need, they put it here.
5. A Blessing to Give: This was probably my favorite part of the list. The kids had thought of themselves for the past four lines, and they were surprised to find an area for others on their Christmas list. Our family is choosing to use this line as a craft or treat to be made and shared with others. Boy Gardener chose Christmas cookies, while Girly Gardener declared cupcakes (loaded with candy) to be what she wanted to make and share. There are also plenty of ways to do this without baking. Making crafts, going caroling, spending time with those who may not have family are all great ways to bless others this Christmas season.
I hope that you’ll find this list useful this Christmas season. With all of the hustle and bustle that can prevail this time of year, I hope that you’ll enjoy your families and time together most of all. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Download: Printable Christmas List
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